New South Wales on Tuesday announced it had hit its coronavirus vaccination target of six million doses administered across the state following a surge in uptake, especially in Sydney's local government areas of concern.
And within those LGAs, Edmondson Park is one suburb leading the way.
According to NSW Health data, more than 90 per cent of the suburb's more than 3,100 eligible residents have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and between 80 and 89 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Edmondson Park has got a higher percentage of people vaccinated than any suburb around it and is among the state's most vaccinated suburbs.
Edmondson Park has more people vaccinated than any suburb around it. Source: NSW Health
The neighbouring suburbs of Ponds and Schofields - which come under Blacktown, also an LGA of concern - have also seen more than 90 per cent of residents receiving their first dose, as well as several suburbs in the north, plus Bong Bong, Bowral and Burradoo to the south, and Cullinga and Wallendbeen to the east.
Why Edmondson Park?
Wendy Waller, the mayor of the City of Liverpool - the LGA in which Edmondson Park is located - told SBS News the suburb's strong vaccine uptake is a great “success story”.
She believes the suburb's demographic may have been a factor in driving up vaccination rates.
“Most of the folk are migrants that have come from overseas. I think what’s happened is, they’ve got family members who are obviously doing it tough overseas with COVID and they’ve seen what’s coming,” she said.
“They’ve decided right before anyone else to go and get their vaccinations done.”
Several other suburbs in NSW (shown in purple) have also reached 90 per cent first vaccination rates. Source: NSW Health
Extra vaccines have been funnelled into Sydney's LGAs of concern in recent weeks. Ms Waller said easy access also assists in vaccine uptake.
"It's really important for vaccinations to happen in a way where there are no hurdles," she said.
"I think Edmondson Park is a good example. They have a big pharmacy in their shopping centre and they are doing vaccinations quite regularly."
According to the 2016 Census, almost 15 per cent of the residents of Edmondson Park are of Indian ancestry. More than six per cent are Italian and almost five per cent are Chinese.
Dr Yadu Singh is the president of the Federation of Indian Associations of NSW and a cardiologist. He too said the high vaccination rates were influenced by events overseas.
“There is a large Indian community in these areas, and they are aware of what can go wrong,” he said.
“We saw a major surge of COVID infections in India just a few months ago where a lot of people died.”
Dr Yadu Singh with his family. Source: Supplied
In April, India was hit by a surge in cases as the Delta variant took hold. It pushed the health care system there to breaking point.
The country has recorded at least 435,110 deaths and more than 32 million COVID-19 infections.
“I suppose it’s not surprising that people were keen to get onto the vaccinations [here],” Dr Singh said.
“I’m very proud of my community that they have responded in the most responsible way.”
Navroz Singh is an international student living in Edmondson Park.
He said that watching the COVID-situation unfold in India was a “worry” but the prospect of seeing his family again was all the motivation he needed to get the vaccine.
“I’ve been in Australia for five years and I was hoping to go back to India this year,” the 24-year-old said.
“If [getting vaccinated] is how I can go back to visit and see my family, why not?”
Another incentive for Mr Singh to get vaccinated was to help support his local community.
“A lot of people [in Edmondson Park] have small businesses and they’ve all gotten shut down,” he said.
“They’ve lost all of the foot traffic … so for them, getting the vaccine is like a reason to get back to work.”